(killed 43 BCE)
Seventh Hasmonean ruler of Judea.
The impetuous younger son of Alexander Jannai and Salome Alexandra rebelled against his mother, defeated
his older brother Hyrcanus at Jericho and
proclaimed himself high priest and king. He was supported
by the Sadducees but was driven from Jerusalem [65 BCE] by Arab
armies of Nabatea [Jordan], who came to his brother's
aid at the invitation of Antipater. Aristobulus called
for and received support from the Roman legate of Syria.
But Hyrcanus appealed directly to Pompey, the Roman conqueror of
Syria, who was in Damascus.
Aristobulus sent a counter-petition
to Pompey. Yet, rather than wait for Pompey's decision
— which was complicated by an appeal by residents
of Jerusalem to abolish the Judean monarchy and return to a theocracy
— Aristobulus seized the fortress of Alexandrium.
Pompey used this as a pretext to attack Jerusalem.
When Aristobulus' aristocratic supporters fortified
themselves in the temple, Pompey breached the walls,
slaughtered thousands of Jews in the sanctuary and even
entered the holy of holies. Aristobulus was sent to
Rome as a hostage. He was eventually released by Julius
Caesar [49 BCE], only to be poisoned by Pompey's supporters
before he could wrest control of Jerusalem from supporters of his older brother.